Covid restrictions: Everything you need to know about Wales' new rules

Credit: PA

The Welsh Government has decided to introduce Covid restrictions from Boxing Day as cases of the Omicron variant rise across the country.

Here's a full guide on the latest Alert Level Two restrictions, and what you can and cannot do before and after Christmas Day.

New measures in Wales will now come into force on Boxing Day - Sunday 26 December.

The restrictions are prompted by fears of a sharp rise in coronavirus cases in January, fuelled by the spread of the Omicron variant.

The first minister has said the Welsh Government "will not stand back" if more needs to be done to prevent unnecessary deaths.

But Mark Drakeford has said his cabinet will continue to review the regulations on a weekly basis.

As we head towards Christmas, he is now urging people to reduce contact with others over the coming days, especially if plans include seeing older or more vulnerable people.

The Welsh Government is asking people to do the following when meeting others over the festive period:

  • Limit the number of people visiting your home.

  • If people are visiting, make sure they take a lateral flow test in the morning before the visit.

  • Meeting outdoors is better than indoors. If you’re meeting indoors make sure it’s well ventilated.

  • Space out any visits.

  • Don’t forget about social distancing and washing your hands.

This has all been issued as guidance by the Welsh Government so there is no legal framework to enforce compliance.

Once Christmas Day has passed, the rules will significantly change in Wales.

Here is a look on what they are and what they mean for you.

Can I go to a nightclub and other hospitality venues?

From 6am on Boxing Day, all nightclubs will have to close.

Cinemas, theatres, restaurants and bars can all open but social distancing and the rule of six will apply, meaning you can only go to these establishments with six people from different households.

The maximum number of people who can gather at an indoor event will be 30 and 50 for outdoors, so cinemas and theatres look likely to have significantly reduced audiences.

All of Wales' nightclubs will close from 6am on Boxing Day. Credit: PA Images

When going to any hospitality setting, you will need to wear a face mask apart from when you are seated. All licensed premises will need to reintroduce table service and collect contact details of customers.

The Welsh Government says £120m will be available for nightclubs, retail, hospitality, leisure and tourism businesses affected by the move back to Alert Level Two.

It also says a £5.25m Cultural Winter Stability Fund is being provided to support Wales’ arts organisations, museums, libraries and independent cinemas.

What about life events?

The Welsh Government has said the number of people who can attend life events like weddings, civil partnerships, funerals or wakes will be determined by the size of venue.

The rule of six will still apply to events where people are seated.

So for example at a wedding reception, a table can seat up to six people from different households, but it will be up to the venue to decide many tables of six they can have at their venue, following a risk assessment.

All those attending any life event will need proof of a negative lateral flow test.

What about going to work?

New rules mean a person could be fined £60 if they are working from their workspace without good reason.

People who are able to work from home, must now do so otherwise they risk being fined £60 for travelling to an office.

The Welsh Government had previously advised people to work from home where possible, but now that has become law.

It also means employers could be fined up to £10,000 if they repeatedly fail to allow people to work from home.

Those who have to go into an office, must follow two-metre social distancing rules.

Businesses of all types will have to reintroduce measures like one-way systems and physical barriers to protect customers and staff.

Can I attend sporting events in Wales?

From Boxing Day, fans will no longer be allowed to attend either indoor or outdoor sporting events. They will instead be played behind closed doors to try and control spread of the Omicron variant.

Cardiff against Scarlets in the United Rugby Championship (URC) on the 26th will be the first major fixture affected.

The Economy Minister Vaughan Gething has announced that a £3m Spectator Sports Fund will be available to support clubs and sporting venues affected by the latest measures.

Cardiff City FC has already postponed its Boxing Day match against Coventry City due to several cases of Covid-19 in its playing squad and staff.

And League Two leaders Forest Green will not be playing Newport County.

However there is an exception for team sports and events involving chiuldren. Up to 50 spectators will be able to gather, on top of those taking part.

I've been in contact with someone with Covid. Do I need to isolate?

The Welsh Government now says fully-vaccinated adults and children aged five to 17, who are identified as contacts of someone who has tested positive for Covid-19, must take daily lateral flow tests for seven days instead of self-isolating. These must all be negative.

Those who have not been double jabbed, however will have to isolate for 10 days if they are a contact with someone with the virus.